To Die is Gain
For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. – Phil 1:21
How many people do you know that look forward to death? How many do you know that look forward to it with high expectations and great anticipation? Very few if any right?
The apostle Paul was a rare breed. He is quoted in the Bible as stating that “to die is gain.” This was his outlook on life. This was what life was all about to him – dying. Does that sound grim? It probably does if you don’t understand where he was coming from.
Paul was a man on a mission. That mission was to run the race set before him. He was purchased by Christ’s blood and therefore lived as Christ’s servant every moment and everyday of his life.
Paul had left behind everything that meant anything to him on earth. All of his success, securities and aspirations that he formerly held apart from Christ were now counted as a waste of time.
You see Paul had lost his life. But in losing his life he found real life…in Christ. This new life was a life that had meaning and purpose that transcended this life and would continue on throughout eternity.
To die was gain, and is still gain to this day to the apostle Paul. Death means great loss to most because all they have worked for and everything that means anything to them is right here on planet earth. If they must leave life and enter into death this means that they will have nothing. Paul was just the opposite. He had nothing on earth and would gain everything in the life to come.
It wasn’t a catchy slogan he had thought up. It summed up Paul’s life. If I continue to live, GREAT, I can continue to invest my life for my Lord Jesus Christ. But, if I die… well that is a whole different ball game. If I die, then I get to see, experience, and live with the reward of my life’s investment for eternity.
Paul understood Matthew chapter 6. He lived it. What about you? Can you really say that “to die is gain”?
Death is nothing more than a tradgedy to most, because it means the end and nothing more. The late wife of famous astronomer Carl Sagan had this to say about her husband after his death:
When my husband died, because he was so famous and known for not being a believer, many people would come up to me—it still sometimes happens—and ask me if Carl changed at the end and converted to a belief in an afterlife. They also frequently ask me if I think I will see him again. Carl faced his death with unflagging courage and never sought refuge in illusions. The tragedy was that we knew we would never see each other again. I don’t ever expect to be reunited with Carl. [^ Druyan, Ann (November/December 2003). “Ann Druyan talks about science, religion, wonder, awe… and Carl Sagan”. Skeptical Inquirer (Committee for Skeptical Inquiry) 27 (6). ISSN 0194-6730. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/ann_druyan_talks_about_science_religion/. Retrieved July 27, 2010.]
Is death just a tradgedy to you? It is tragic when we lose someone to death but we can also rejoice immensely if they were born-again believers because they have gained.
In order to be able to say it, and mean it with all your heart, then the first part of this verse must also be true. It says “For me to live is Christ.” The one that lives the self-denying life, the Christ centered life is the one that is able to say with all confidence that “to die is gain.”
Let’s stop fearing death. Christ took away the sting of death. We can and should look forward to stepping into eternity. Death is gain to every believer no doubt. But it is far beyond the experience of any hard sought, sacrificially attained accomplishment man can experience on earth – FOR THOSE WHO LIVE THEIR LIFE FOR CHRIST, THROUGH CHRIST WHICH STRENGTHENS THEM. They have laid it all out there, put it all on the line, living a life of delayed gratification – knowing that their joy, their riches, and their fulfillment will forever be when they step out of time and into eternity!
Examples of other men that had this passion:
Count Zizendorf – “I have but one passion – it is He, and He alone.”
J. Hudson Taylor – “Had I a thousand lives,” China should claim every one. No, not China, but Christ! Can we do too much for Him? Can we do enough for such a Savior?”
No doubt they are enjoying their gain right now and forever more in eternity!!!